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On Radiation and Latent Heat Feedback in Clouds: Implications and a Parameterization

Andrew J. HeymsfieldNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Larry M. MiloshevichNational Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado

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Abstract

Nonadiabatic changes in cloud temperature result from the opposing effects of radiation and the resulting phase change and latent heat caused by this radiative forcing. It is shown that the fraction of “realized” (net) radiative heating–cooling is strongly temperature–dependent, increasing from 33% at 20°C to 92% at −40°C. The primary implication of this study is that radiative processes can affect the thermodynamic instability of cold clouds to a much greater extent than warm clouds, given the same radiative heating–cooling rates for both clouds.

Abstract

Nonadiabatic changes in cloud temperature result from the opposing effects of radiation and the resulting phase change and latent heat caused by this radiative forcing. It is shown that the fraction of “realized” (net) radiative heating–cooling is strongly temperature–dependent, increasing from 33% at 20°C to 92% at −40°C. The primary implication of this study is that radiative processes can affect the thermodynamic instability of cold clouds to a much greater extent than warm clouds, given the same radiative heating–cooling rates for both clouds.

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